When most people think of Florida they immediately think of beaches. It’s not surprising since the state has so many great spots to enjoy the sand, the sun, and the ocean. If you happen to live in the Naples area, you’re in luck because some of the state’s best beaches are within easy reach.
Here’s a look at some of the best beaches in the area—in no particular order. The great thing about this area is that (please forgive the mixing of metaphors) this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of great beaches around the area. But if you haven’t explored them, here’s a great list with which to start.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Located in North Naples, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is recognized as one of the best beaches in the US. If you want a beach that’s removed from the backdrop of high-rise condos and development, you’ll love the all-natural sandy shore here. There’s a nature trail that leads to an observation tower at the beach's north end, and you if fishing is your passion, you can join other fishermen at the pass to snag the fish being coming out of the Cocohatchee River. There are also picnic areas with grills, restrooms and showers.
Barefoot Beach Preserve Park
Pelican Bay is home to Barefoot Beach Preserve Park; a pristine spot that offers a relaxed beach experience that includes tropical hammocks, scenic tidal creeks and lush mangrove swamps. It’s a little bit harder to reach than some of the busier beaches, but the absence of crowds and the relaxed nature of the park are a great pay-off. Inside the 342-acre preserve you’ll find a one-mile nature trail, public showers, a picnic area, a concession stand, a butterfly garden and equipment rentals. You can also enjoy free Ranger nature walks and shell talks. The natural, unspoiled quality of this beach and park will appeal to wildlife watchers, fishermen and beach bums.
If you’re looking for a slightly different kind of “wild life” you might enjoy the Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples. This beach caters a bit more to the resort crowds, including those from the Ritz-Carlton. There are plenty of venues for bar-hopping and dining—even though it can get a bit crowded at times. There’s an abundance of open white sand on the beach bordering the Gulf of Mexico. In the quiet early morning hours you can hunt for seashells and enjoy some bird watching. You’ll also find a concession stand, public restrooms, showers and bike racks.
Clam Pass County Park
This beach in North Naples offers a different adventure that begins with a tram ride across a three-quarter-mile boardwalk through a mangrove estuary. Visitors actually experience two different Naples habitats within minutes. The park is adjacent to the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Spanning 35 acres, this coastal habitat includes a tidal bay area where beachgoers can observe wading shorebirds, osprey and other marine life. There is a county-operated boat and cabana rental facility, and there are restrooms, showers and a resort food concession. Click here for more information.
South Marco Beach
If you’re looking for a beach with pristine, soft sand and lots of activity, you’ll want to check out South Marco Beach. This public beach on Marco Island has limited access (which can cut down on the crowds). Located at the southernmost end of the island, South Marco Beach offers volleyball, jet skiing, parasailing, paddle boarding, and more. The high-rise buildings that offer views of the coast are set back from the beach so as not to intrude. There is also plenty of native vegetation growing between the developed areas and the beach.
You can head to the other end of Marco Island for a different experience where the beach is separated from the main island. This is a great place to hunt for seashells. It’s also a wonderful place to observe nature. Many visitors frequent the lagoon in the morning hours in order to watch the many birds that flock there. You’ll also have access to playgrounds, water sports rentals, a food concession, and restrooms. If you choose, you can swim across the lagoon or simply walk south to where it connects to land.
Coconut Island and Sand Dollar Spit are both accessible from Tigertail Beach, the public access operated by Collier County. Both barrier sand structures are known for their seashells. Meanwhile, at Tigertail, a lagoon has formed at the public access that fills with birds, especially in the morning breakfast hours. Learn more about Tigertail Beach in this detailed article!
Bonita Beach Park
Bonita Beach is home to Bonita Beach Park on Big Hickory Island. Before it became a popular beach the community of Bonita Beach was a fishing village, and hints of it’s past still remain. You’ll find a wide variety of water sports rentals and beach volleyball there. And while it’s definitely a beach part destination, it’s also very family friendly. It offers a playground, picnic shelters with tables and grills, beach rentals and a burger joint with both indoor and outdoor service.
If you’re looking for a beach with plenty of full-service facilities, Lowdermilk Park may be the best Naples-area beach for you. Families with children can rent one of the two have picnics in one of the two gazebo pavilions that the park rents out. Kids can play on the two playgrounds there and splash in the calm, safe waters, or check out the nearby duck pond. There are also sand volleyball courts, restrooms, and showers, a food concession stand. Handicap access that includes beach wheelchairs and its close proximity to the downtown area makes it easy for visitors of all ages to access.
Naples Municipal Beach and Pier
This beach—with its well-known pier—is an iconic landmark in the Naples area. It’s often the first image that comes to mind when people think of the city of Naples. That’s not surprising since it’s been a mainstay of the community for more than 100 years. This is a beach that’s teeming with action and right in the heart of what’s going on around Naples’ renowned Third Street South. You can enjoy six miles of flawless, white sand and hypnotic aquamarine waters. Watch local fishermen ply their skills from the pier—or give it a try yourself. Because the pier and beach never close they are perfect places to join the nightly ritual of watching the sun sink slowly into the ocean.
We hope you enjoyed this article highlighting the best beaches in the Naples area! If you have any other beaches you think should be on this list, we'd love to know. Leave us a comment below.